I am enrolled in a self-paced online creative writing class. The first lesson is on poetry and I have been stuck on it for months. This weekend, I am determined to finish all of my assignments and move onto the second lesson. Dorothy Allison helped me. I read a few more of her essays in Skin before working on my own writing. Here are some of the words that inspired me to move from page turning book reading to Microsoft word:
Maybe not for anyone else, but for me, the kind of person that I am, writing meant an attempt to sneak up on truth, to figure it out slowly through the characters on page. If writing was dangerous, lying was deadly, and only through writing things out would I discover where my real fears were, my layered network of careful lies and secrets (p. 90.)
Writing is still revolutionary, writing is still about changing the world. Each of my students who tells the truth about their life becomes part of the process, and every piece they share with me that challenges my own self-exploration pushes me to deeper work. Sex and lies, I believe, are the core of it. You may not be happy as writers, I tell them, echoing Bertha Harris, but you will know who you are and you will change the world.
Exactly (p. 91.)